Category Archives: APHA 2012

Nov 5 2012
Comments

Lesson from APHA: For Most Immigrants, Immigration Policy is Health Policy and Vice Versa

Tiffany D. Joseph, PhD, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Scholar in Health Policy Research at Harvard University (2011-2013).  This post is part of a series in which RWJF scholars, fellows and alumni who are attending the American Public Health Association annual meeting reflect on the experience.

file

It was incredibly exciting to attend the American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting for the first time! As a sociologist and current RWJF Health Policy Research Scholar, I am thrilled to be at a multidisciplinary conference with an explicit focus on all aspects of health: outcomes, disparities, coverage, service utilization. You name it, there is a session for it.

The opening was especially motivating and inspiring as Dr. Reed Tuckson and Gail Sheehy provided insightful talks on the relevance of preventive health throughout the life course and how public health professionals must continue to work to improve access to, and quality of, health care for a U.S. population that is increasingly racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse.

U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi also stopped by, unannounced, to welcome the APHA to San Francisco and thank its members for their steadfast commitment to, and support for, passage and implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA).  Needless to say, everyone in attendance was thrilled and excited by her surprise visit and warm words.

Read more

Nov 2 2012
Comments

Being Healthy Now Matters Later to Moms and Babies

Pamela K. Xaverius, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Saint Louis University, and a former grantee with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Connections program. This post is part of a series in which RWJF scholars, fellows and alumni who are attending the American Public Health Association annual meeting reflect on the experience.

file

As a former New Connections grantee from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, I was asked to blog about my experience with one of my posters at the 140th annual conference of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in San Francisco this week. The poster was entitled “Prevalence of Preconception Lifestyle Behaviors Between Women With and Without Diabetes.”

There has been a groundswell of activity across the U.S. around the idea that if women want to have healthy babies, they need to be healthy before they get pregnant (aka, preconception health). This idea fits well with the overall theme of the APHA conference this year: Prevention and Wellness Across the Lifespan.

My co-authors and I presented a poster on secondary analysis of data that looked at the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and diabetes status among women of reproductive age. The biggest takeaway that we wanted people to have from this poster was that 93 percent of women with diabetes are not intending a pregnancy, and 73.2 percent of them are not using any birth control method (40.5 percent) or using less effective birth control methods (32.7 percent). This is a recipe for significant public health concern, with the growing rates of diabetes coupled with the potentially deleterious consequences of unmanaged diabetes during pregnancy.

Read more

Nov 1 2012
Comments

Thoughts on the APHA Closing Session: In the End, It is All About Power

Robert Otto Valdez, PhD, is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) professor of family & community medicine and economics at the University of New Mexico. He serves as executive director of the RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, a national program office for increasing diversity in health and health care leadership. This post is part of a series in which RWJF scholars, fellows and alumni who are attending the American Public Health Association annual meeting reflect on the experience.

file

The 140th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the nation’s oldest gathering of public health professionals in the world, concluded yesterday as the San Francisco region celebrated the World Series victory of their beloved Giants.  Close to 13,000 public health professionals came together around the theme, Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span.

The closing session focused on incarceration, justice, and health with a keynote speech by Angela Davis.  Our society has used mandatory sentencing and incarceration of Black and Latino young men and, more recently, immigrants as a form of social control that not only maintains the current social order but also contributes to the inequalities in health that result from inequitable society.

The kinds of mass incarceration costing some $70 to $100 billion a year has produced social inequalities that can be readily seen in the lives and families of the formerly incarcerated.  Bruce Western and Becky Pettit offered an insightful article in the Summer 2010 Daedalus that describes the creation of a group of social outcasts “who are joined by the shared experience of incarceration, crime, poverty, racial minority, and low education.”  These are all characteristics that contribute to social and economic disadvantage not only for those who were incarcerated but also their families.

Read more

Oct 31 2012
Comments

Living and Learning at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting

Myra Parker, JD, PhD, is acting instructor at the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Washington and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Connections grantee. This post is part of a series in which RWJF scholars, fellows and alumni who are attending the American Public Health Association annual meeting reflect on the experience.

file

I took my seven-year-old daughter to help me pick up my registration materials at the Moscone Center. I was thrilled to map the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) sessions and discover they are located in one of the central buildings this year! It’s terrific to be able to attend the general sessions AND those specific to my community, which has not always been the case with AI/AN/NH sessions held in off-site hotels last year in Washington, D.C.

My daughter was amazed and excited to see the performances outside the convention center. The artistic displays added to the air of festivity as American Public Health Association (APHA) attendees took over the Moscone area. I was excited to see the diversity of attendees across many different professional backgrounds and ethnic/cultural communities.

We attended the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Caucus General Membership Business Meeting. This was the first time I had the opportunity to attend the business meeting, which included officer elections for the upcoming two years, introductions of members and visitors, and updates on the caucus budget and events. The caucus was able to fund six undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students from AI/AN/NH communities to attend APHA this year at $2,000 each. This is a wonderful new opportunity for these students, each of whom also applied to present a poster at the conference. I plan to attend the caucus social on Monday evening, which includes a silent auction of native art! This fundraiser contributes to the cost of providing caucus-specific sessions as well as to the student scholarship fund. I also learned that if we pack a room at the conference, there is a higher chance the caucus will be able to offer these sessions next year.

Read more

Oct 30 2012
Comments

An APHA Presentation: Addressing Racial Health Disparities with Culturally Competent Interventions Delivered from the African American Church

By Daniel L. Howard, PhD, executive director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. The Center’s mission is to provide leadership in health policy education, research and reform, while improving the health and health care of underserved communities. This post is part of a series in which RWJF scholars, fellows and alumni who are attending the American Public Health Association annual meeting reflect on the experience.

Daniel Howard

This week, I am part of a team that had the honor of being chosen to conduct a presentation on mental health in African American faith-based communities at the 140th Annual Meeting and Exposition for the American Public Health Association (APHA).  This is a significant topic for clinicians, researchers and policy-makers to consider when addressing mental health needs for African American individuals and their communities.

The Surgeon General’s Report Supplement (2001) noted that science can offer effective treatments for most disorders.  However, it noted, “Americans do not share equally in the best that science has to offer.” Numerous others researchers have concluded that publicly provided behavioral health services must be improved for ethnic minorities.

Research has consistently shown that, despite significant prevalence of mental health issues in the United States, most individuals do not seek treatment for these issues. Historically, research has shown that African Americans are even less likely to seek mental health treatment than their Caucasian counterparts. There are several reasons for this that are not exclusive to, but do include, the stigma that surrounds mental health in African American communities, the perceptions of mental health in African American communities, and the limited mental health resources available to address mental health needs in the community.

Despite the indication that the majority of mental health service needs for African Americans are unmet, there has been a strong and consistent response from the African American church to serve as the surrogate for the medical sector. Many published studies have found that African American churches have strong potential to serve as a highly effective gateway for the successful delivery of health intervention. The compatibility between health and wellness and African American churches, and particularly between mental health wellness and African American churches, can be attributed to several factors including the church’s consistent tradition of supporting its members and the inherent emphasis on the healing of psychological ills.

Read more

Oct 29 2012
Comments

On Your Mark... Get Set... APHA!

Melody S. Goodman, PhD, is a grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Connections program (2007), and an assistant professor at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. This post is the first in a series in which RWJF scholars, fellows and alumni who are attending the American Public Health Association annual meeting reflect on the experience.

file

On your mark…. get set…. APHA!  Yes it is that time of year again for the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting & exposition.  Are you ready for all things public health?! 

APHA is my favorite conference to attend because it fulfills all of my public health senses.  I am a biostatistician interested in health disparities doing community-based participatory research (yes you read that correctly).  APHA is the one conference that speaks to all my research interests in one place.  There is no other conference that allows me to go to theta beta land with my statistics friends in the Applied Public Health Statistics Section and then discuss developing community-academic partnerships with both community and academic colleagues in the Community-Based Public Health Caucus (CBPHC).  Last year I served as the academic program planner for the CBPHC and this year I am section council of the Statistics section.

Some people say they don’t like APHA because it is too big but the New Yorker in me loves every moment of it.  I always arrive at the conference early and grab that phonebook-like program and attack it with a highlighter and sticky tabs the way only a true nerd could.  I spend an hour or so planning my life over the next few days; noting when and where I am presenting, where my colleagues and students are presenting and finding other scientific sessions I am interested in attending. Then I take a walk around the convention center locating the rooms where I will be presenting.  This makes life easier when over 10,000 people are walking though hallways, many of them lost; I don’t have to be one of them.

Read more